Useless?

No way! It is only an illusion, a cheap trick by a cheaper magician.
Each of us has immense value and usefulness to God. Sometimes this fact of faith is easy to forget. Why?
Because we know, also, that we are broken—all of us—not just the derelict on the street corner trudging to the cover of a bridge for the night. Pride would lift us up and say that he is broken but we are whole and healthy.

Check again. We are all broken. The difference is only a matter of degree.

“Great!” You might be saying, “Where is the encouragement in that bit of news?”

While the feeling of uselessness is a powerful one, that does not make it accurate. It is a story only half-told. There is more, another act to be seen in this drama.

The Poet expressed the feeling for us:

“I am as useless as a broken pot.”

This is emotion not information.

Clay pots were the creation of the potter.
His skillful hands and whirling wheel shaped the shapeless wet clay into a useful form. Baked in the oven, the soft clay hardened into stone as the useless thing became useful in the potter’s shop.

God, of course, is the Potter of our lives and His skills range far above those of the human potter. In the earthly shop, a broken earthen pot cannot be mended; it is good only to be thrown away. Not so in our Potter’s Shop! He specializes in the reconstruction of broken pots!

Earthly “wisdom” would tell us that we are beyond repair, ruined forever.
This is the cynical, earth-bound, deterministic lie that we who have been repaired must expose. Lies like this discourage us from another attempt at reform. Our record of unsuccessful self-reform programs is dismal.

There is another brand of wisdom we need to consult, “the wisdom from above.” In our brokenness we have come to the wrong shop. We need to keep walking until we find the Potter’s Shop where Jesus works. We will find work going on here that we can’t find anywhere else—the work of restoration. Jesus rebuilds broken pots, making the useless useful again.

This is information, not emotion.

Look around you and you will see many people living useful, productive lives.
Be assured they have not always been so busy and beneficial. They were once broken to one extent or another but Jesus repaired them.

His shop is open for business today.

Scriptures:
Psalm 31
In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Incline your ear to me; make haste to deliver me. Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold; for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me. Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me, for you are my tower of strength. Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth. I hate those who cling to worthless idols, and I put my trust in the Lord. I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy; for you have seen my affliction; you know my distress. You have not shut me up in the power of the enemy; you have set my feet in an open place. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; my eye is consumed with sorrow, and also my throat and my belly. For my life is wasted with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails me because of affliction, and my bones are consumed. I have become a reproach to all my enemies and to my neighbors, a dismay to those of my acquaintance; when they see me in the street they avoid me. I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am as useless as a broken pot. … Yet I said in my alarm, “I have been cut off from the sight of your eyes. “Nevertheless, you heard the sound of my entreaty when I cried out to you. Love the Lord, all you who worship him; the Lord protects the faithful, but repays to the full those who act haughtily. Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.
2 Timothy 2:20-22 NKJV
…in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
Acts 9:15-16 KJV
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
Jeremiah 18:1-7 NIV
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
James 3:13-18
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, to this day Your strong, carpenter’s hands bear the scars of our sin; yet they are still healing hands! You have handled me skillfully, tenderly restoring my marred and broken life. Today Your work in me will continue. I want to be pliable in Your hands, malleable beneath the gentle hammer of Your grace. I am grateful that You haven’t given up on me! With Your on-going repairs I can be a vessel unto honor, fit for Your use, Master Jesus! Amen.

Song:
The Broken Vessel
Words and Music: Andrea Crouch

1. The Potter saw a vessel, that was broken by the wind and rain
And he sought with so much compassion to make it over again.
O I was that vessel, that no one thought was good
I cried Lord, You’re the potter and I am the clay make me over again today.
Then God picked up the pieces of my broken life that day
And He made me a new vessel, and washed all my sins away.

2. My friend if your broken and scattered by the storms of life
And You’ve looked in vain for the answers for all your turmoil and strife.
Just look to the Savior Who’ll save your soul from sin
And cry Lord you the potter and I am the clay make me over again today
Then let God pick up the pieces of your broken life today
He will make you a new vessel and wash all your sins away.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

How to stay “Useful” to God? “Strange Place for a Tree.”

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